Tribpedia: Texas Department Of Criminal Justice

Tribpedia

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is the state agency responsible for managing state prisons and jails and the oversight of more than 150,000 offenders. The agency also supervises offenders released from prison on parole.

The board is composed of nine members who are appointed by the governor to staggered, six-year terms. The governor also designates one member as ...

Read More...

This gurney is used to perform executions at Terre Haute by lethal injection.
This gurney is used to perform executions at Terre Haute by lethal injection.

Lawyers Allege Texas Illegally Obtains Death Drugs

Lawyers for two Texas death row inmates today asked state and federal law enforcement to investigate whether prison officials illegally obtained death penalty drugs the state used in nearly all of its 466 executions by using the Drug Enforcement Agency registration number of a long-closed facility.

Students at Austin Discovery School work on a project at the Texas charter school on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011.
Students at Austin Discovery School work on a project at the Texas charter school on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011.

Lawmakers Want Fewer Tickets for Students

Last year, Texas police issued 300,000 students for offenses like chewing gum, truancy, and cursing. The Senate Criminal Justice Committee today discussed a bill that would mean far fewer citations for youngsters in schools.

Texas Towns Suffer as Private Prisons Struggle

A few years ago, rural cities and counties in Texas were lining up to incarcerate inmates for profit in private prisons and jails. But today, as Mose Buchele of KUT News reports in partnership with NPR, an increasing number of cells sit empty, leaving many Texas communities struggling with mounting debts.

Jim Willett is the director of the Texas Prison Museum and was a warden at the Walls Unit who oversaw 89 executions by lethal injection. He sits in a replica cell within the museum.
Jim Willett is the director of the Texas Prison Museum and was a warden at the Walls Unit who oversaw 89 executions by lethal injection. He sits in a replica cell within the museum.

Looking Back on a Life as a Death House Warden

Jim Willett had not intended to spend the better part of his adult life working in Texas’ sprawling prison system. But the business student turned prison guard worked 30 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and oversaw 89 executions. Now, a decade into his retirement, he still spends his days surrounded by mementos of lives spent behind razor wire, steel bars and thick brick walls.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 3/21/11

M. Smith on the continuing controversy over Beaumont's school administrators, Tan on the deepening divide over the consequences of the House budget, Hamilton on the latest in the fight over higher ed accountability, Grissom on young inmates in adult prisons, Aguilar on the voter ID end game, Tan and Hasson's Rainy Day Fund infographic, Ramsey on the coming conflict over school district reserves, M. Smith and Aguilar on Laredo ISD's missing Social Security numbers, Galbraith on environmental regulators bracing for budget cuts and Ramshaw on greater scrutiny of neonatal intensive care units: The best of our best content from March 21 to 25, 2011.

Marc Mauer: The TT Interview

The national criminal justice expert on how other states have handled controversial prison closings and reduced criminal justice costs and how the Right On Crime Movement — with support from conservative leaders like Grover Norquist and Newt Gingrich — might give Texas lawmakers the political freedom to be more than tough when it comes to crime.

Marc Mauer: The TT Interview

The Tribune sat down recently with national criminal justice expert Marc Mauer, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based reform advocacy group The Sentencing Project, to get his advice about how Texas can continue on its so-called 'right on crime' path even as lawmakers slice millions from the state budget. Mauer, who was in Austin for the Barbara Jordan Symposium at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs, talked about how other states have handled controversial prison closings, how others have reduced criminal justice costs and how the Right On Crime Movement — with support from conservative leaders like Grover Norquist and Newt Gingrich — might give lawmakers the political freedom to be more than tough when it comes to crime.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Mar. 14, 2011

Grissom on threats to re-entry programs for criminals, Hamilton on the tempest over the direction of UT, E. Smith's interview with Joe Straus, Stiles and Chang's new lobbying app, M. Smith and Weber on where state officeholders send their children to school, Aaronson on allowing new nuclear power plants, Aguilar on how Hispanic Republicans are handling immigration issues, Ramshaw talks abortion with Planned Parennthood's Cecile Richards, Tan and Dehn on tapping the Rainy Day Fund and Galbraith on San Antonio and its water: The best of our best content from March 14 to 18, 2011.

William Crow, Elliott Cornett and Daniel Barraza, all recently released inmates, walk away from the Walls Unit in Huntsville, Texas on March 4, 2011. State legislators are considering halving the $100 given to inmates upon their re-entry to society.
William Crow, Elliott Cornett and Daniel Barraza, all recently released inmates, walk away from the Walls Unit in Huntsville, Texas on March 4, 2011. State legislators are considering halving the $100 given to inmates upon their re-entry to society.

Out On Their Own: Re-entering Society After Prison

Sights and sounds from Huntsville when prisoners were released from the Walls Unit on March 4.

William Crow, 41, who did two years for drug possession, crouches in the shop adjoining the bus station where recently released inmates are buying new clothes, shoes and cigarettes in Huntsville, Texas on March 4, 2011.
William Crow, 41, who did two years for drug possession, crouches in the shop adjoining the bus station where recently released inmates are buying new clothes, shoes and cigarettes in Huntsville, Texas on March 4, 2011.

Budget Cuts Would Undo Prison Re-Entry Reforms

Texas legislators are considering proposals that would cut as much as $162 million from programs meant to help criminals avoid going back to prison. Criminal justice advocates say the cuts would reverse years of reforms that have helped reduce recidivism and drive down the size of the prison population.

New Day Rising: The Changing Public Policy Landscape

At the Tribune's New Day Rising symposium on Feb. 28, four public policy experts — Talmadge Helfin of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Rebecca Bernhardt of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, Jerel Booker of Stand for Children Texas and Eva DeLuna Castro of the Center for Public Policy Priorities — talked about criminal justice, education, health care and other issues that will be impacted by the coming Hispanic majority.

State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, at the 2010 Texas Democratic convention in Corpus Christi, Tex. on June 26.
State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, at the 2010 Texas Democratic convention in Corpus Christi, Tex. on June 26.

Bill Would Make Restroom Peeping a Felony

State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, filed a bill today that would make it a state jail felony to "lewdly violate" a person's privacy in a place like a public restroom.

Rev. Carroll Pickett holds the world record for witnessing the most state executions as a chaplain. He saw 95 men die by lethal injection during his career as the death house chaplain.

Rev. Carroll Pickett: The TT Interview

Rev. Carroll Pickett holds the world record for witnessing the most state executions as a chaplain. He saw 95 men die by lethal injection during his career as the death house chaplain. He sat down with the Tribune recently to talk about how he "seduced the emotions" of the condemned, why his views about the death penalty changed and how he now copes with all the death he saw over the years.

TDCJ Bans Thousands of Books in State Prisons

Inmates looking to catch up on their Shakespeare are out of luck. They won't find Love & Sonnets in any Texas lock-up. The Texas Civil Rights Project released a report today on the list of 11,850 books banned by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice — everything from a collection of DaVinci's sketchbooks to the works of Salman Rushdie. Even winners of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the O. Henry Award aren't allowed. 

Dale Rudick: The TT Interview

Dale Rudick, Sugar Land's director of intergovernmental affairs, on the history of the Central Prison Unit, why the city wants it shuttered, and whether the budget crunch is actually working to Sugar Land's advantage.

Dale Rudick: The TT Interview

The Texas Tribune sat down last week to talk with Sugar Land's director of intergovernmental affairs, Dale Rudick, to talk about the history of the prison in Sugar Land and about what local officials think would be a better use of the land where it sits today.

Exonerated Men Plead for Justice System Change

  • 1Comment

After listening to nearly two hours of emotional testimony from exonerated prisoners, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee today approved a bill meant to reform the way law enforcement officials in Texas gather and use eyewitness identification evidence.